Ace in the Hole

Ace in the Hole ★★★★½

Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news.
-Charles Tatum

I've held Michael Douglas in high regard for as long as I can remember and simply thought his good old dad was probably a great actor, I just hadn't seen him in much. Now years later with countless films eliminating some of my cinematic ignorance I'd have to say that while Micheal certainly gained fame and notoriety rightfully deserved, sadly he never managed to come close to his father's accomplishments as an actor.

I've come not only to respect the work of Kirk Douglas, but have come to think of him as one of the greatest leading men in Hollywood's history. From his early small roles in films like Out of the Past to huge epics like Spartacus he seemed to approach all his performances in the same fashion and not rely on simply a screen persona but would bring to life fully fleshed out characters.

This is one of those films with Charles Tatum being one of those unforgettable characters. A man that doesn't even seem to try and hide the fact that even if he had a moral code it would go flying out the window at the chance of getting a story... or making a story even bigger and yet you can't help but identify, maybe even sympathize with this despicable bastard because of Douglas' performance that somehow makes him human instead of just a monster. It's a great character to see Douglas bring to life though as Tatum almost has tunnel vision seeing only the end that justifies the means with any and all consequences being something "that we can deal with later" until of course it all goes to far.

The script by director Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels and Walter Newman could be as poignant today as it was over 60 years ago with very few changes. It's a perfectly paced look at the inside creation of a media circus. The dialogue as well, as with practically every Billy Wilder film ever made, is incredibly entertaining and as important as the star of the film himself. Instantly quotable from beginning to end "I can handle big news and little news. And if there's no news, I'll go out and bite a dog." Of course Wilder, along with his cinematographer Charles Lang, manage to make a film about a man trapped in a cave and still have some spectacular shots that are beautiful while somehow containing over a 1000 extras (I'm guessing) in a few of them.

Another gem from Wilder with a fantastic performance by Douglas.

Part of:
5 Directors x 5 Unseen Films – Round 2

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